In a study of more than 3000 parents by 27% said they struggle to balance work and childcare.
In the research by Early Years Alliance 16% also said they had cut their hours in the workplace with the average weekly hours falling from 37 to 22.
The survey suggests parents in deprived areas were 22% more likely to say they were struggling, with four out of five (80%) saying the government is not doing enough to help them access affordable childcare.
One in six (17%) of respondents said issues obtaining childcare had resulted in poor mental health.
A recent Freedom of Information request revealed that Department for Education officials had predicted the cost of ‘fully funding’ an early years place would reach £7.49 in 2020/21.
This is £2.60 more than the £4.89 fee paid to early years organisations, or £2,964 per child over the year.
Single parents were twice as likely to be forced to change jobs, or to leave work entirely as a result with the difference being 11% versus 6% for dual-parent households.
Neil Leitch, Early Years Alliance chief executive, said: “Early years settings deliver vital learning and development opportunities to young children, but also provide the quality childcare that parents rely on to work, bring in additional income and further their careers.
"With budgets becoming ever tighter in the face of rising costs and stagnant funding, many nurseries, pre-schools and childminders have been forced to make tough decisions about the days, hours, and flexibility they can offer.”